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AC: The (young) Magician photo  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/03/2008 9:01 pm  

Can anyone put a date on the photograph of a young AC as The Magician? (Last page of the AC photos in the Gallery, file 110/126)

Getty Images picture library say it's "circa 1890" -- i.e. when Crowley was 15! Unlikely, I'd have thought. Another site, I suspect unreliably, labels it "Aleister Crowley as β€˜The Magician.’ Photo taken in 1911, the year after Spare had joined the Argenteum Astrum" -- but that would make AC 36, and he looks much younger than that.

Anybody know?

Thanks in advance.


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lashtal
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24/03/2008 10:17 pm  

I think you've stumbled upon one of the most curious pieces of Crowleyan ephemera.

In the photograph, he appears to be in his twenties, but it's published in The Confessions as "The Magician, 1911", when Crowley would have been in his mid-thirties.

Now, he's shown with the stele - intriguingly it appears to be the original - which means, if he first saw it in 1904, that it must have been taken after that date. In 1904, of course, Crowley would have been in his late twenties. For what it's worth, I suspect the photo must date to 1904-05.

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lashtal
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24/03/2008 10:22 pm  

I should mention that Symonds (in "The King Of The Shadow Realm") and Sutin (in "Do What Thou Wilt") both date the photograph to "circa 1910".

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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24/03/2008 11:03 pm  

Thanks for these answers, Paul. Glad I raised a genuine puzzle!

I'd tried comparing it with other photos of AC at different ages, to see where it seemed to fit in best -- but his appearance is so different in so many of the photos in the first half of his life, e.g. (Gallery) 15, 22, 40, 45, 46, 75, 78/93, 109 -- not to mention the ones with a beard! -- that it really doesn't help.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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25/03/2008 2:50 am  

93
A misconstrued memory perhaps, but 1904 really rings a bell with this photo(source for this info forgotten). Anybody know what the book to the right is? Objectively, 1904 seems most likely. He looks too young for '09+, and if I'm not mistaken, he was'nt too keen on Al from '05-'08.
93 93/93


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Aleisterion
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25/03/2008 3:00 pm  

Lashtal wrote: "Now, he's shown with the stele - intriguingly it appears to be the original..."

The original stele? Was he ever permitted to handle and photograph the actual stele in this way? I thought this was the reproduction that he had made?


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lashtal
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25/03/2008 3:40 pm  
"Aleisterion" wrote:
The original stele? Was he ever permitted to handle and photograph the actual stele in this way? I thought this was the reproduction that he had made?

πŸ˜‰

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 Anonymous
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25/03/2008 3:55 pm  

The book is one of the "Holy Books" volumes, which were issued in 3 parts circa 1909-1910 for members of the A.'.A.'..


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fama_fraternitatis
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25/03/2008 6:35 pm  

The photo appears in Book Four, Part Two which was published circa 1912/1913 - the use of the Stele and the Holy Books would suggest a post 1909 origin for the picture, but he does look particularly young!


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gurugeorge
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26/03/2008 1:15 am  

It's Magick! πŸ˜†


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fanadil
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26/03/2008 1:39 am  

The upward tilt of the head would tend to smooth out lines and shadows, and contribute to a deceptively youthful appearance. It was captioned somewhere (and based, as near as I can ascertain, on no evidence whatsoever) that the vial contained oil of Abramelin. Can't help wondering where all those pieces-parts in the photo are now.


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2008 3:20 pm  

Some fascinating responses here. Thank you to everyone for your ideas.


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2008 3:59 pm  
"gurugeorge" wrote:
It's Magick! πŸ˜†

πŸ˜€ Good call!


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the_real_simon_iff
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27/03/2008 4:53 pm  

93!

Sometimes I tend to suspect that a little retouching was administered to the photograph since it really seems a little impossible that one year later he looked like that: http://www.lashtal.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-320 or even 8 years later he had the famous "bullet head" of Sgt. Pepper fame.

So maybe this is a Golden Dawn era photo with a few add-ons from 1904 to 1910?

Or it IS magick!

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2008 5:07 pm  

Did they have Photoshop in 1910...? πŸ˜†


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lashtal
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27/03/2008 7:34 pm  

What if the photograph is exactly what it appears to be?

What if it's a photograph of an earnest young Golden Dawn member around, say, the very early 1900s?

We know AC visited Cairo in 1902...

Perhaps he's proudly displaying the stele that he had just "abstructed" from the Boulaq Museum before the copy was moved to the Cairo Museum where he showed it to his new wife in 1904?

Just an idea...

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 Anonymous
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27/03/2008 8:44 pm  

Pardon me for stating the blindingly obvious, but just because it was first published in a certain year, there's no reason to suppose that it was taken in the same year....


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Aleisterion
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27/03/2008 9:09 pm  

What about the holy books of Thelema there in front of him?


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phthah
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27/03/2008 9:26 pm  

93,

"rkaczynski" wrote:
The book is one of the "Holy Books" volumes, which were issued in 3 parts circa 1909-1910 for members of the A.'.A.'..

Bare with me on this in case I'm missing something, but based on the above here by rkaczynski, wouldn't that mean that the picture would have had to have been taken around that time?

93 93/93


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the_real_simon_iff
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28/03/2008 8:03 am  
"phthah" wrote:
Bare with me on this in case I'm missing something, but based on the above here by rkaczynski, wouldn't that mean that the picture would have had to have been taken around that time?

93!

If there was some retouching at work it only means that the book was brought into the pic around that time, the rest might sill be taken earlier, as his youthful exterior might suggest. Anyone knows where the best reproduction of the photo can be found? Harry Ransom Centre seems to have three prints, maybe from the original negative? Anyone can check or has access to an original print?

Love=Law
Lutz


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OKontrair
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28/03/2008 9:53 am  

Lashtal wrote:

"We know AC visited Cairo in 1902... "

And in 1902 the Stele was actually in the Boulaq Museum prior to it's move up the road.

Just an observation.

OK

(later: sorry, I have just noticed that someone above said the same thing)


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lashtal
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28/03/2008 1:22 pm  

It's all very suggestive of... Well, of something!

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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28/03/2008 3:53 pm  
"Pickles" wrote:
Did they have Photoshop in 1910...? πŸ˜†

No... but they had George Melies!!! πŸ˜†


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the_real_simon_iff
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28/03/2008 4:10 pm  
"Pickles" wrote:
Did they have Photoshop in 1910...?

93!

Well, they had scalpels and paintbrushes. See http://www.lashtal.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-317

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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28/03/2008 4:54 pm  

DWTWSBTWOTL

Personally, I have always thought (from what I have seen of him), that Aleister was very much younger looking than most people at his age in that time. Also, upon his travels he wore a beard which made it almost impossible to see his face. Surely the camera's of the early century would not be capable of much more or less of a perfect imagery based upon light, angle, lens etc.
Crowley could most certainly have brought on a youthful appearance at any age, had he willed it to be. That I can be sure of.
~simple1


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